Defra study finds Wi-Fi connections vulnerable to natural disasters and rising temperature
A government report has warned that ICT in the UK, including Wi-Fi connections, is at risk of being disrupted by rising temperatures and storms caused due to climate change.
The Secretary of State of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Caroline Spelman launched the cross-government report, "Climate Resilient Infrastructure", which outlines the challenges to the transport, energy, water and ICT infrastructure sectors to adapting to climate change.
The report says that the communications infrastructure is under increasing threats from floods, storms, and even changes in vegetation.
The report also laid out various measures that needs to be taken by infrastructure owners and operators, regulators, insurers and government.
Presenting the report, Spelman said, "If climate change threatens the quality of your signal, or you can’t get it because of extreme fluctuations in temperature, then you will be disadvantaged, which is why we must address the question…and just imagine in the height of an emergency if the communications system is down or adversely affected."
Spelman warned that the country must take urgent steps to protect the infrastructure from the effects of climate change.
Spelman said, "Our economy is built on effective transport and communications networks and reliable energy and water supplies. But the economy cannot grow if there are repeated power failures, or goods cannot be transported because roads are flooded and railways have buckled, or if intense rainfall or high temperatures disrupt Wi-Fi signals.
"£200bn is expected to be invested in the UK’s infrastructure over the next five years. But if the facilities which support our society cannot cope with floods, droughts, or freezing winters then that money will have been wasted."
Transport minister Theresa Villiers said, "When Defra started out looking at this issue, communications were not necessarily at the heart of the adaptation strategy. But communications is pivotal to making everything else work, which is why it has become much more high profile in the government’s work."